Wednesday, 8 June 2016

FG should build Recovered Stolen Money Estates for the masses — Gen. Sam Momah


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Gen. Momah to Asabeafrika....'The APC Government will give Dividends of Democracy to the masses'


General Sam Momah is one of Nigeria’s finest Army Generals. Beyond being a General, Sam Momah is a policy maker who has given directions to several Nigerian and foreign institutions through his well researched policy literatures and books in past years. He is the only Nigerian Army General who has consistently published one book or the other in the last 18 years. Momah was the minister of Science and Technology under the military regimes of late General Sani Abacha and General Abdulsalami Abubakar (1995-1999). A graduate of numerous tertiary institutions home and abroad including the Royal College of Defense Studies, London; The General has a Ph-D in Strategic Studies and a First Class Honors degree in Civil Engineering. Sam Momah the General and Gentleman is a fellow of War College and a Fellow of Nigerian Society of Engineers. The former Adjutant General of the Nigeria Army and Pioneer Director of the National War College, Abuja is a member of the National Institute (Mni) and was equally conferred with the National Honor of Commander of the Federal Republic (CFR) in 1998.
Gen. Sam Momah to Asabeafrika....'Government should use Recovered Stolen Moneies to build real estates and other amenities for the poor'

General Sam Momah who is equally a former Principal Staff Officer to General Muhammadu Buhari (Present Nigerian President) in the 70s was one of the strongest voices who campaigned vigorously for the emergence of President Buhari in 2015. Years before 2015, General Momah had always spoken to the Nigerian public through the press for the need to have a Buhari Leadership at the top. In this new exclusive interview with your Africa’s number 1 Celebrity Encounter blog Asabeafrika, The General who has authored over 7 books on power, technology, agriculture, international relations and diplomacy spoke on President Buhari’s one year in office and how the recovered loots from dubious Nigerian Political Leaders can be utilized. Very interesting suggestion from a policy making General; he equally spoke on the various societal upheavals in the South-South, East and North East and what Nigeria need as a nation to solve those challenges. He spoke on IPOB, BIAFRA, Fulani Herdsmen and Boko Haram. Enjoy the excerpts.
The General shows the GDA an economic statistic on his computer to  illustrate a point during an interview session
The APC is a year in office; can you assess the party’s performance?
Yes it’s a year now and it’s unfortunate that some PDP members boast that even though APC is in government that they are in power. Be that as it may, we should recollect that the plan of the APC was to hit the ground running, but this couldn’t happen because of the legislative coup of 9th June 2015. That coup didn’t enable laws that ought to have been made to fast track dividends of democracy to come on board.  Like you know the senate president is on trial and that has slowed down a lot of issues which is very unfortunate. But I believe that the APC government is still trying to put itself together. When the going gets tough, the tough gets going. And therefore they are still making sure that the dividends of democracy get to the masses. As you know, the TSA account is a major breakthrough, and has blocked loopholes for corruption. That’s a major masterstroke by the APC government. There is also a reasonable looted amount that has been recovered, though the full details of these returned funds have not been given. I am advising that, it should be used to build estates in all the state capitals of the federation and Abuja and called Recovered Stolen Money (RSM), Estates so that Nigerians would always remember the funds were not only recovered but were put to good use. Also, it will discourage looting of treasury in future.

Gen. Sam Momah to Asabeafrika....'Ranches and Grazing reserves should be built for herdsmen in all states of the federation'
Also, Mr. President has been making trips to USA, UK, France, Germany, G-7, India, China, Dubai etc. Nigerians should appreciate that at his age he is sacrificing his sedentary comfort for intense travel stress which one suffers at that age. I say so because I’m about the same age bracket like him. Thus far, he has been able to improve on the image of Nigeria because of his personal integrity and honesty. Before now, we had a President who claimed that his primary bench mark achievement was that he produced the largest number of billionaires and private jet owners. To the contrary PMB is passionate of lifting millions out of poverty. Nigerians should be patient, patriotic and productive. We should not fold our arms and hope that manner will drop from Heaven. By now every Nigerian should go back to land and ensure at least he/she has a vegetable garden at the back yard or anywhere. Have a poultry/Rabbit Cage and a Mobile Plastic Fish Pond.
The General & his beautiful wife

What is your take on pro-Biafra protests?

I feel sorry, sad and disappointed with them. Honestly it’s a misnomer. These are young men and women probably not born before the civil war and hence don’t know what going to war means. It is unfortunate that instead of finding ways to better their lives they are idling away talking about Biafra. As you know, Biafra from analysis of events is dead and buried. Two main events concretized it. First, we should remember that Biafra died when Zik crossed over from Biafra via Britain to Nigeria. It was the masterstroke that ended the civil war. Secondly, Biafra got buried when the erstwhile leader of Biafra accepted the pardon of our revered President Shehu Shagari. Not only that, when Ojukwu came back, he contested for the presidency of our beloved country Nigeria. He didn't win and in the following dispensation, he contested for a seat at the Senate but lost. By so doing, Ojukwu confirmed that Biafra is dead and buried. Definitely, what Nnamdi Kanu and his misguided followers are doing makes no sense. It is downright embarrassing. They claim to be peaceful but mean while they talk of the Restoration of Sovereign State of Biafra which is at variance to Nigerian’s Constitution which again is worsened with inciting broadcasts abusing and insulting our national leaders and other tribes in unprintable tirades. That’s against Igbo Culture. The world is now a global village in which you give and take. Indeed, it is now necessary for Ohanaeze to take control and thus join other socio-cultural groups – Afenifere, Arewa etc in ensuring that real peace prevails to enable development take root in Nigeria. The appellation “Biafra” should be allowed to Rest-In-Peace otherwise the ghost of Biafra will continue to hunt us with the painful reminder of 3m souls that perished, 2.5m orphans, 1.5m widows and then of course, the heart-ache of “Abandoned” property in Port-Harcourt. These are ugly reminders of Biafra that shouldn’t be re-opened in order to enable Ohanaeze and South-East leaders concentrate in pressing home issues such as improved Federal presence in the South East, amelioration of abandoned property to ensure its never repeated anywhere in Nigeria again, restoration of merit to enable the nation move forward, completion of Zik Mausoleum, construction of Niger Bridge, development of the coal mine and oil field in the South East etc.
Gen. Sam Momah to Asabeafrika....'Nigeria is better united than splitting because splitting will lead to extinction'
There is so much to gain by being together than in splitting because once you start splitting, there will be no end to it until it blows down to your village. This is so because of the multifarious tribes in Nigeria. Nigeria maybe down today, but she is destined to be a world power tomorrow. The potentials are there, the underlying problems are intricate but with internationally acclaimed honest leader like PMB, he is our only hope for now to lay a strong and holy foundation for Nigeria’s greatness. The parents of those pro-Biafran youths should call them to order. They are disgracing a lot of us from the South-East. Biafra is not what we should glorify in. Biafra is the past and Nigeria is the future.

In Africa, and Nigeria in particular, we are yet to lay a solid foundation for growth. We do not therefore have time to waste on century-old separatist movements like they do in developed countries such as the separatists of French Quebec in Canada and the Catalonians and Basque of Spain. For them, it is a gainful flag-carrying past time. In effect IPOB, MASSOB, BZM, and Niger Delta Avengers (NDA) should call themselves to order, and look for ways of contributing to national growth instead of distracting the on-going crucial and critical efforts at nation building. They should lay down their arms, come back to reality, apologize to the nation and join in nation building. Otherwise, posterity whose future they are destroying will never forgive them.

 
How Fulani Herdsmen Problem can be solved

The issue of Fulani herdsmen has become a nightmare; Prof Wole Soyinka said Buhari is acting late, what’s your take, sir?
I think this issue has been on since Independence, but it is being highlighted now. The good thing is that the President has reacted positively and instructed that the herdsmen be brought to order. That instruction must be strictly carried out. There should be no more killings. Nigeria is tired of bloodbath. Those who commit atrocities such as murder must be brought to book by hanging, and not by granting them amnesty. If that is done, murderers will stop. The problem with Nigeria is that people commit offence as grievous as murder and they get away with it. And that’s why incessant killings have continued. There is also the need to go to the root cause of the problem. Ranches and Grazing Reserves should be developed all over the country for herdsmen within 50km radius of a Ranch to graze their cows. In effect, any cow-journey that is beyond 50KM should be by road or rail transport. The Ranches should be fenced and well maintained and those who use them must pay subsidized rate for their maintenance.
The General is a Gentleman & a Scholar
What is your advice to Nigerian Youth on the state of the nation?
The youth should be patient and law abiding. With PMB as president there is light at the end of the tunnel. The youth should endeavor to learn any skill and be self employed. It is important that we look back at what Nigeria was before APC came in. Nigeria was like a 36-storey building whose foundation was failing because of overload. The situation demands urgent restructuring and de-structuring to save it from collapsing. In my latest book I’m suggesting reducing our 36 states to 18, and the N2trn saved can be ploughed into our much needed capital development such as Power, Rail, and Refinery etc.
Furthermore, there should be synergy between the federal and state governments to provide jobs. Federal government in concert with state governments should massively clear land and allocate to youths who are willing to farm. The youths should be given farm inputs including tools and machinery. Such youths will have to work from their ancestral homes in their local government areas. This will remove from them the burden of house rents. Massive agric will make food price to go down and the well being of the people will be assured.
Some few honorary awards of the Author-General inside his Abuja home
The senate president is on trial. If you were to advice him, what will you say?
Like I said, what happened at the Senate on 9th June 2015 was a “coup” because it was all done from the back door. So he became the Senate president through unwholesome ways and trade-offs.  He should therefore honorably surrender it. Also, for the image of the Senate, he should honorably resign. He should consider the fact that Nigeria is bigger than any individual no matter how highly placed. He should therefore subsume his ambition for the greatest good of Nigeria by resigning honorably. I think he should do so soonest.
The General with The GDA & some journalists who visited him for an  interraction
Some people think that our new romance with China could affect negatively our relationship with Europe and America. What do you think?
I do not think so; Nigeria is an independent country and the voice of the Black Race anywhere. We can therefore trade with any country that we choose to, particularly where our interests are best protected. Our president is trying through shuttle diplomacy to do what is in the best interest of Nigeria. China is the largest country in Asia, and Nigeria is the largest country in Africa and when the two romances, the rest of the world should applaud.  Strategic projects in rail and power should materialize. For many years the Mambila Hydro Power plant has been on paper. If it is actualized, it will add 3000 megawatts to the national grid. It will surely make a great difference since it will not be vulnerable as the thermal Power Plants which the militants burst their pipelines so easily.
Gen. Sam Momah to the GDA....'I have so many fears for Nigeria at my age'
The president has sought for assistance of the World Bank to repatriate Abacha's loot, but in between the time that this government came in and now, some monies have been recovered, what is being done with such money?
I can assure you that with PMB the recovered loot will be put to good use. I said earlier that the money should be used to build workers low cost houses in FCT and States Capitals. The Estate should be named Recovered Stolen Money (RSM) estates to deter others. Burnt bricks should be used and the unemployed should be trained in brick-laying to defuse the unemployment time bomb. The project will be the best way for the masses to acknowledge that the funds were well utilized. Before now, the recovered funds were shared by the three tiers of government. This is not morally right. The money should be used to build welfare amenities, such as hospitals, affordable Bus System nationwide with inscription – Recovered Stolen MONEY (RSM) Bus Service, RSM Hospital etc.

Gen. Sam Momah to Asabeafrika...'Biafra should be allowed to rest in peace or the ghost of Biafra will continue to hunt us with 3million deaths'
The NLC just demanded for N56, 000 minimum wages. Do you think that is feasible when state governors are struggling to pay N18, 000 minimum wages?
The last salary review that resulted in the N18, 000 per month was in 2010 and since the agreement is that salary be reviewed every 5 years, the review is therefore over due by one year. That apart, the suggested increase is quite feasible.  If our officials can travel less, buy less vehicles (SUV), hold less conferences, stop ghost workers, and if our governors stop taking security votes, the legislators stop taking constituency project fund and so many other padded allowances, you will be surprised to see that the N56,000 (or near that sum depending on each state capability) will be sustainable. Indeed, I believe that people should be given living wage. When you pay somebody N18.000 and he has to cater for his transport, accommodation, food etc from that paltry sum, it wouldn’t just add up. Invariably, begging or pinching or a combination of the two will start.  Another imperative is to make food so cheap that the minimum wage may cope. And that’s why I’m advocating for a Food-First Revolution and a Work-and-Wack Orientation. Also, as we talk of minimum wage we should also have maximum wage which should be about 100 times the basic minimum wage. If that is done, there will be excellent re-distribution of wealth.
Gen. Sam Momah to Asabeafrika...'The Youth Should Learn more skills to keep them surviving in this economy'
Do you think Chief Audu Ogbe, the Minister of Agriculture is Performing?
Of course he is performing and he is very innovative and passionate with actualizing the nation’s agricultural dream. The problem with us is that we are yet to pull-up our sleeves and trousers and go farming in our backyards like our parents did in the 1950s and 60s. Then most families had vegetable gardens at the back yard and reared chicken and even goats. With that, Nigeria was able to have affordable food items. Today, what stops a young man from having a poultry farm? A rabbit, Bees Nest, Snail Cage, Grass-Cutter Fenced-Bush; Vegetable Garden etc. He shouldn’t expect Ministry of Agriculture to do that for him. Another problem is that some state governors from a different party may not want to cooperate with federal government agric projects. For instance, a PDP state governor (Ayo Fayose) has already warned that no ranches will be nurtured in his state. That’s not the spirit. We must not like Senator Ben Murray-Bruce said “politicize our economy”.  The governors should know that they hold the ace in providing employment for the youths and not PMB, as people often think. The governors have the land and manpower and they are in the best position to create farm jobs unlike PMB, who controls only the Aso Rock and as you know, he cannot farm on a Rock.  The masses should learn to ask and pressurize their governors not PMB for solutions to their problems.
 
Gen. Sam Momah to Asabeafrika....'Mr. President's frequent foreign trips is at the cost of his sedentary old age benefits'
Governors are now asking for money from the excess crude account; do you think it is right?
That is not right. Such funds should be ploughed into capital projects such as power. The idea of just sitting down and sharing savings should be put behind us. Let’s stop sharing and start baking. The era of governor’s forum taking the FG to court forcing FG to share the excess crude account is gone because there is nothing to share. The motorcade of most governors does not reflect the mood of the nation. The same is the case of our senators who recently bought 108 exotic Japanese Land Cruisers at a time we are trying to borrow to pay salaries and balance our budget. Indeed, Nigerians may have overlooked the issue if they had bought Nigerian made Innoson Jeeps which are far cheaper and would have guaranteed the pay of 4000 workers, at the Nigerian Automotive Manufacturers Association (NAMA) and saved that organization from pending retrenchment.
Gen. Sam Momah to Asabeafrika...'Most of those agitating for Biafra now were not yet born when Biafra died in the 70s'
With the unveiling of mass looting by some top brass of the military, do you think that the integrity of the military is still in-tact?

Right now, it is sordid and disgraceful but I’m sure PMB as C-in-C will set it right. It’s no wonder that with so much obscene wealth our soldiers during the last Administration were perpetually retreating from Boko Haram’s onslaught. However, we should not in retrospect, be surprised when you have some executive governors collecting N500m as Security vote, then the military Chief will join in.  Immediate action should therefore be taken to expunge security vote, constituency vote and humongous pension and allowances from our constitution. If this is not done, the looting will continue.  At our own time, things like this never happened. We were first and foremost, professional soldiers. At our own time, we were contented with our professional job and nothing more. I am sure that the President will straighten out all that. All he needs is our support.

Gen. Sam Momah to Asabeafrika...'President Buhari's reforms are being dragged down by the Nigerian Senate under Bukola Saraki'
What is your fear for Nigeria right now?
My fear is that we have learnt nothing and have forgotten everything. We fought a bitter Civil War, lost over 3m souls. Orkar tried to dismember the nation, Boko Haram though castrated is still causing mayhem of uncertainties in the North East.  So called Biafran activists are irritatingly and feloniously contesting the sovereignty of Nigeria. The kidnappers have made life-hell-on-earth for Nigerians. The South-South militants in spite of all the amnesty largesse are heinously blowing up pipelines that should generate funds to finance their amnesty bills. It is unfortunate that this is happening at a time when the global economy is bad and people elsewhere are trying to pick up the pieces they can get and convert it to money. Our own people are instead blowing up all our invaluable including pipelines and power lines. It is unfortunate.  It is criminal. They think they are making the government ungovernable but they are wrong. It is the youth and posterity that they are harming. The youths that are unemployed should hold these militant groups responsible. They are destroying the present and the future of the youths. That is my fear about Nigeria because without gainfully employed youths, there is no future. We do not seem to realize that we have a God-given country with immense potentials. We are not patriotic. We just think of self and sharing. And that’s why we cannot even refine crude oil that God gave us free. There must be a re-orientation to turn-around the Nigerian psyche from lopsided value system to a patriotic positive thinking. By now, I expected a lot of re-orientation slogans, jingles and campaigns should be renting the air, mobilizing and motivating Nigerians towards Nigeria of our dream. Unless we do the needful other nations will continue to overtake us. All hands (honest ones) must be on desk. As the giant of Africa, we should act now because time is running out.
General Sam Momah with Present Minister of Technology who is also his friend, Chief Ogbonnaya Onu and former Minister of Aviation, Chief (Mrs.) Kema Chikwe (Standing)
Are you still writing books?
Yes I’m on the 8th book.  As a military strategist, the sole aim of the book is to stimulate discussion and enlighten the youths on the consequences of a pressurized break-up. It is also to counter the damage that the IPOB, MASSOB etc have done to the South-Easterners.  It is senseless, foolhardy and a self-destruct adventure by these so-called pro-Biafrans. This latest book is entitled Nigeria’s Break-Up: Consequences and How Best To Avoid It. The book is almost ready and in the next two months, it should be on book shelves. The book will focus mainly on the consequences of break-up and it is foreseen that Nigeria’s break-up will be gory, bloody and savagery. The break up will re-energize Boko Haram and such militant/insurgent groups and the carnage will last over 50 years.  The refugee problems from 180m Nigerians will be the greatest disaster the world has ever seen. Some Nigerians think it will be a break-up with handshake and smiles like that of Czechoslovakia which has only two nationalities: the Czechs and Slovenia. Far from it. Ours with 317 nationalities will be a cauldron of unmitigated disaster. The 55-year old Sudanese civil war will be a child’s play compared to Nigeria’s Second Civil War.  Nigeria will burn and it will never end. So those who are calling for Biafra should realize how heinous their actions are. Nigeria has a problem but we cannot solve it by breaking into Banana Republics with uncontrollable warlords. That won’t serve any purpose. It will compound it. We should sit down and jaw-jaw rather than war-war. Definitely, after 102 years (1914-2016) of living together as one country we should try and dialogue because a divorce is a broken egg that produces nothing but stench. Enough of violence. Enough of killing and destroying. Fellow countrymen and women, enough is enough. Let’s henceforth build and build; and not kill and kill.
The General is also a Doctor of Strategic Studies...

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